Summer officially kicks off this weekend and millions of Americans will celebrate with a cookout. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) urges consumers to check their grills and "fire it up safely" to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Before lighting the grill, do a safety check.
*Has your grill been recalled? Check SaferProducts.gov. If the grill has been recalled, contact the manufacturer and stop using it until you get a repair or replacement.
*Visually inspect the hoses on a gas grill for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing and that all connections are secure. Replace if necessary.
*Check for propane gas leaks. Open the gas supply valve fully and apply a soapy solution with a brush at the connection point. If bubbles appear, there is a leak. Try tightening the tank connection. If that does not stop the leak, close the gas valve and have the grill repaired by a qualified professional.
*Is the grill clean? Regularly cleaning the grill, as described in the owner's manual, and also cleaning the grease trap, will reduce the risk of flare-ups and grease fires.
Once the safety check is complete, make sure to operate the grill as safely as possible.
*Use grills outside only in a well-ventilated area. Never use a grill indoors or in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch or under a surface that will burn. Gas and charcoal grills present a risk of fire and/or carbon monoxide poisoning that could result in injury or death. An estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010. While almost all of the injuries were burns, a few of the charcoal grill injuries were related to carbon monoxide. There were an estimated average of eight CO-related deaths per year between 2005 and 2007 associated with charcoal grills that were used indoors or in enclosed spaces.
*Never leave a grill unattended. If a flare-up occurs, adjust the controls on the gas grill or spread out the coals on a charcoal grill to lower the temperature. If a grease fire occurs, turn off the gas grill and use baking soda and or a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
*Keep the grill hoses as far away as possible from hot surfaces and dripping hot grease.
*Keep children away from the grill area. The outside surface of a grill can get hot and burn when touched.
See CPSC's Gas Grill Fact Sheet for additional safety tips for gas grills and Charcoal Grill Safety Tips for more information on charcoal grill safety.
To see this release on CPSC's web site, including links to recalls, fact sheets and tips, please go to: